Australians love their vast homeland territory to explore the mystery, adventure and vastness, and to seek solitary time away from the city humdrum. When you’re far away from home, it isn’t long before you get bitten by the travel bug.
Below are five suggested stunning locations to explore in Europe, for that home away from home feel…
The Amalfi coast
The idyllic scenery means this location is unsurprisingly renowned as the most breathtakingly picturesque coastline in Italy. With striking elevated precipices, huddled villages tucked into the ascending land, all overlooking the turquoise translucent water. Aside from the visual magnificence, the food (mainly seafood) is sumptuous, fresh and filled with flavour from the sea, and is undoubtedly another reason for its popularity with visitors.
Beginning at the southern end of the Bay of Naples along the Sorrento Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast boasts charming towns including Amalfi, Positano and Ravello.
From the historical Salerno, collect some delightful local artefacts while discovering impressive vistas (Capo d’Orso is a must-see!). Continue to Ravello at 1,198 feet (365 metres) to view the 11th century cathedral, and then move on to Amalfi. Escape the crowds and pay a visit to the Valle dei Mulini, for the watermills which are filled with character. Enjoy evenings in cafés on piazzas, sipping refreshing drinks as a cool breeze fans your skin after the heat of the day.
Finding a beach, sunshine and a mixture of cosmopolitan charm in a city reminds every Aussie ex-pat that the feeling of home is not too far away. Barcelona moves at a sedate pace during the day, blending culinary delights with an evening of fiestas which appeal to the locals too.
The wonderful array of architecture in the gothic style is displayed around the city through the mesmerising buildings of Gaudí. For example, Casa Batlló is the finest Catalonian homage. Indulge in a morning in the impressive Sagrada Família, the 19th century cathedral which is divinely detailed. Stroll through Gaudi’s Park Güell with its snake-like mosaic walls and breathtaking views over the city.
Walk through Las Ramblas, a shopping haven which is close to several of the galleries and museums. Make sure you pay a visit to the Museu Picasso, Camp Nou, Sagrada Família and Museo de Joan Miró, plus MNAC for Catalan art and history. Relax by the harbour, where you can indulge in fine dining after an afternoon by one of the seven perfect sandy beaches which await you.
Aussie’s love to party and where better than on this island, which is well known for its luxury lifestyle, all-night rave parties and club life atmosphere. Choose from the Platja d’en Bossa (East side) and Sant Antoni de Portmany (West side) where there are bars and great electronic music. There are daytime parties too and each resort has its special touch with bars and clubs. Arriving at the airport, you will notice it is filled with private jets. Private jet charter companies like Chapman Freeborn have been flying from major European airports to Ibiza for years.
To experience the full range this Garden of Eden has to offer, you can travel from one end of the island to the other, discovering its natural beauty in the northern and western areas. Or choose to stay in the southern part of the island for its urban appeal. There are a variety of locations to suit all tastes.
Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera, is centrally positioned and is a charming town that is pedestrianised and coloured with shops and restaurants that serve traditional locally sourced food. Try the frequented Bar Costa, which is home to many locals who enjoy their jamón ibérico (Spanish ham) on toasted pan con tomate (bread with tomatoes). Meet up at the Macao Café for divine Italian food and perhaps even spot a celebrity!
The beaches are all sandy and white with translucent perfect Mediterranean waters surrounded by elevated cliffs. Make your way to Cala Jondal, Las Salinas, Talamanca, Figueretas or Es Cavallet beaches to relax after a long night out.
Porto and the Douro Valley
Northern Portugal boasts spectacular wine regions, to satisfy any expat with aromas of wine to remind them of home. The beautiful scenery stretches for miles, and the vast estates ascend over the imposing Douro River below.
The landscape covers 100 miles through a mountainous terrain. You will feel as if you have been transported as you enjoy a glass of red or white Port on a terrace at sunset.
Taste a wide selection from Sandeman’s winery, found in the Quinta do Seixo. Join a tour, then wander to other local bars to experience the panoramas. Driving is a great adventure too, and when you arrive, you can climb to the chapel for more breath-taking scenery. Relax in Fonseca’s Quinta do Panascal with its terraced vineyard, before savouring local produce in its restaurant while admiring the Távora River.
Delve into more culture and art at the Casa do Visconde de Chanceleiros positioned above Pinhão then stay at the exclusive Romaneira Quinta dos Sonhos for the full Château experience.
Seen as the city that embraces the new whilst also celebrating the old through arts and cultural heritage, Prague will delight expat visitors. Opera lovers will love the performance of Don Giovanni, first performed at the Estates here in 1787. There are also a range of other operas, ballets and plays throughout the year as well.
Walking through the Old Town, the Astronomical Clock will catch your attention due to its significant iconographic symbolism and beautiful design.
In-between the shows and exploring the marvels the city offers, discover the famous home of Pilsner Urquell, Budějovický Budvar and Staropramen. Try the Pivovarský Klub if you are both eating and drinking. The regional beers and the traditional culinary delights are both excellent.
The night life offers jazz in smoky underground spots, but there is also Jazz Dock which is more up-market. If jazz isn’t your thing, then pay a visit to the must-try Akropolis for an eclectic mixture of music and arts events.
These locations in Europe are all vastly different, but all have impressive culture and lots to see and do. When the sun is shining, all these locations echo that feeling of home…
IMAGES: Italy Amalfi Coast, courtesy . Portugal wine, courtesy . Europe map, via Shutterstock.com